Field of Study: Oceanography
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Stuart Pearson
Research Topic: Antarctic Science, Risks and Regulations: Legal and cultural frameworks for scientific risk governance in Antarctica
Science and decision-making are tightly interdependent in Antarctica and risk management is a key component of the connection and partly reflected in legal frameworks. People consider risk in different ways and the various legal frameworks partly reflect both these differences and also highlight similarities. This research seeks to understand regulations and cultures that deal with ‘risk’ in pursuit of research in Antarctica. It contributes to further understanding of risk, the legal philosophy and views of experienced and publishing Antarctic scientists that can contribute to solutions to the future challenges of uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity of science and decision-making.
This PhD research uses international and domestic documents, scientific publications and surveys of ‘risk’ to examine the risk management frameworks and experiences of the people they seek to influence. It aims to identify and where necessary identify possible improvements that may provide a more effective legal framework. Legal efficiency helps the people who govern others actions to achieve environmental protection and scientific cooperation in Antarctica. This analytical framework of legal efficiency includes; the assessment of regulations based on ‘risk’; a census of decision-makings based on ‘risk’ in Antarctica; the responses of scientists to questions about their values, knowledge and rules for decision-making based on their scientific endeavours.
To achieve the research aims, the research systematically reviewed the literature, identified plausible and some less plausible risks of specific research groups relating to Antarctic fauna and flora, Antarctic microorganisms, Antarctic energy, Antarctic marine environment, Antarctic shipping, and reviewed others. Risk, regulation and theories of scientific epistemology are well studied but here they are systematically investigated in the Antarctic domain that is a uniquely ‘common’ area where China and Australia continue to forge strong collaborative research relationships. Using the focus that comes from comparison between Australian and Chinese Antarctic scientists the research will primarily contribute to understanding the existing frameworks, the experience of those frameworks and possible improvements.